After four pre-season road games, the Clipper fans finally get a chance to see their team in Los Angeles tonight when they host the Blazers in STAPLES Center. The Clippers handled the Blazers pretty easily in their first pre-season game a week and a half ago, but in that game LaMarcus Aldridge did not play and Blake Griffin did. Tonight, the All Star power forward situation will likely be reversed, as Aldridge will probably play, while Griffin will probably rest his sore ankle.
The Clippers have another pre-season game tomorrow night in Las Vegas against the Nuggets, so it's possible that Doc Rivers will decide to rest a few players as he did Monday in Sacramento. It's difficult to say. Or maybe he'll rest Griffin tonight and rest Chris Paul tomorrow. We'll have to wait and see. It is true that as the opportunities for pre-season adjustments decrease with each game, he'll probably want to zero in on a regular season rotation to the extent possible.
Sadly, with J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes and Reggie Bullock all yet to play a pre-season game, and with Griffin now in and out of the lineup, that has been very difficult for Rivers.
If the players are actually involved, watch the battle between Chris Paul and Damian Lillard at point guard. Lillard was the rookie of the year last year and is obviously a rising star in the league at the position, but Paul is still at the head of the class, and tends to like to teach lessons to the young 'uns. The battle between DeAndre Jordan and Robin Lopez in the post should be interesting as well. Jordan was pretty dominant in the first pre-season game between the teams, but Lopez also was able to get to the offensive glass with regularity. It would be great to see Jordan continue his strong play, while also cleaning up his boxing out.
And what's the over/under on number of three pointers taken by Byron Mullens, especially if he starts? He has taken at least seven in every game so far, and up to a dozen. So he's probably good for at least ten tonight, right?